Sunday, December 18, 2011

Nepal Trek Day Eleven: Dingboche - Chukkung - Dingboche

Over the next three weeks, I'm taking a trip down memory lane with a look back at our trip to Nepal last December. For all of the entries about our trek, click here.

Today was another nice and easy day. D left for his hike around 5:30a while I slept in for another couple of hours. The original plan was to meet up with Dilip for breakfast in the dining room, but when I arrived, Dilip was still asleep in a pile of blankets in the corner of the room. Since I had no where to go, I just sat and read a little, drinking some black tea to keep warm. Eventually one of the lodge workers came around to take my breakfast order, and I opted for the chocolate pancake. (Why not?) By the time I finished breakfast, Dilip was up and at 'em, and after he ate his meal, we both headed out to Chukkung. Since Dilip didn't speak much English (or in the very least, was too shy to try), our walk to Chukkung was fairly quiet, but that was fine by me. 

Bharat met us as we crested the last hill before Chukkung, and we all walked together the rest of the way to where D was waiting in the lodge where we would be eating lunch. D and I shared a small pot of milk tea and coconut crunchies while he regaled me with the tale of his morning hike and summiting of Chukkung Ri. The most astonishing event was that he and Bharat saw a (super-elusive, and rarely-sighted) snow leopard as they left Dingboche in the morning. I was definitely ruing my decision not to go with them in the morning -- as that would have been an awesome thing to see. Pretty amazing. 

Following lunch, we all headed back to Dingboche as a group. Bharat pointed out where he and D had seen the snow leopard in the morning, and D and I stopped to see if we could find any prints or other evidence of the cat. No such luck, however, especially since yaks had since made their way through the area as they grazed. 

The rest of the day and evening were mainly uneventful. D and I spent some of the time sharing the earbuds of my iPod and listening to a couple of podcast episodes of This American Life. I had a repeat of last night's veggie burger dinner, and it was just as good as the previous night's. We opted to call it a night around 7p. Tomorrow we would start making our way back toward Namche; the end of our trek was quickly approaching.  

1. Along the trail, 2.  Hiking into the sunshine, 3. More mountain views, 4. Lodge menu, 5. Chukung, 6. D pointing to Chukung Ri (which he summitted that morning), 7. Nibbles the horse, 8. Climber memorial, 9. Along the trail, 10. Construction zone
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